Willy Wonka and Goldfinger songwriter Leslie Bricusse dies aged 90

Legendary composer Bricusse has died (Picture: Rex)

Leslie Bricusse – the man behind the iconic songs of films including Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory as well as James Bond’s Goldfinger – has died aged 90.

The composer penned Candyman and Pure Imagination, alongside Anthony Newley, for the legendary 1971 Gene Wilder film, and was also behind lyrics to 007 themes Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.

His agent confirmed the artist’s death ‘with a breaking heart’, sharing Bricusse died in his sleep on Tuesday morning.

Bricusse’s artist son Adam Bricusse also shared the news on social media, writing: ‘My Dearest Father, passed away peacefully this morning….Please raise a glass for him …

‘Love …. Forever…. RIP Dad ….’

Sharing a tribute to the songwriter, Dame Joan Collins uploaded a photo alongside her ‘great friend’.

She wrote on Instagram: ‘One of the giant songwriters of our time, writer of Candyman, Goldfinger amongst so many other hits, and my great friend Leslie Bricusse has sadly died today.

‘He and his beautiful Evie have been in my life for over 50 years. I will miss him terribly, as will his many friends.’

He was made OBE in 2001 (Picture: Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock)
Pictured here alongside Stephen Fry (Picture: Piers Allardyce/REX/Shutterstock)

Susanna Constantine replied to Adam’s tribute, writing: ‘Oh darling. So sorry to see this. He lived life to the absolute fullest with your beloved ma at his side. How lovely that you spent so much time with him. Sending all love, Lefty xxxx,’ while Orlando Bloom wrote: ‘So sorry Mate. What a legend. Sending so much love. ❤️’

Over his career, London-born Bricusse’s songwriting credits also included Talk to the Animals from 1967’s Doctor Dolittle, while other collaborations with Newley, Dame Joan’s former husband, included Feeling Good for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, later made famous by Nina Simone.

He was also behind the songs of many other musicals including Scrooge, Hook, alongside John Williams, 1989’s Sherlock Holmes: The Musical and Goodbye Mr Chips.

Praised for his work, Bricusse won two Oscars, with Talk To The Animals taking home best original song in 1968, and Victor/Victoria winning best original score or adaptation in 1983, which he cowrote with Henry Mancini.

He also took home a Grammy alongside Newley in 1963, for What Kind of Fool Am I? from Stop the World I Want to Get Off, which made them the first Brits to win the song of the year gong.

In his book, Pure Imagination: A Sorta-biography, Bricusse described himself as ‘one of the luckiest people I know, second only perhaps to Ringo Starr’.

Speaking of his Wonka tune Pure Imagination earlier this year, Bricusse noted: ‘It’s a good thought for people, especially young people, to carry with them through life. You’ll be free if you truly wish to be at the end is, to me, the most important line in the film. It’s a reflective thought on how to make a life work.’

Bricusse is survived by his wife, actress Yvonne Romain, who he was married to for more than 60 years, and son Adam.

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